Interview with Brewster Kahle (aged 33) conducted by Dave Marvit, in Cambridge Massachusetts, November 28, 1992. Interview held at the newly-created WAIS Incorporated, "three blocks from Harvard Square". Runtime is roughly 2 hours.
Topics covered include:
History of WAIS
Definition of Wide Area Information Server (WAIS) Technology
Early experiments of WAIS-like services; what went right and wrong
Working at Thinking Machines Corporation
Devising Search Algorithms
Early advancements in search (and the roots of search)
The excitement and personal aspects of search
Deep overview of the functionality and system of WAIS
The issues and technical considerations of transmitting video via network
The model of providing services for free to attract users
Effects and use of Internet in Politics and Privacy Issues
The Markets that Thinking Machines tried to create and open
Brewster's Goals with WAIS ("The Wise Man on the Hill")
Concerns about proprietary protocols versus open
Early interactions with Perot Systems and the Ross Perot Presidential Campaign
WAIS, Inc. Corporate and Company Structure
WAIS, Inc. Personnel and Positions
WAIS, Inc. Philosophy
Thoughts on the Electronic Publishing Revolution
Effects of Electronic Publishing on Traditional Publishing
Thoughts on business models and transfer mechanisms in publishing
Thoughts on computers and computing technology in the home and home publishing
The role of advertising in electronic publishing
Concerns with working with government institutions
Considering the issues of Privacy in an electronic age
The future of WAIS, Inc. (Growing, Earning, Business Model)
Some numbers mentioned in the interview:
A "large" government database that was 15 gigabytes, with estimates of searching this database from 24 hours down the Thinking Machines' 3 minutes.
Dow Jones' Database is 77gb at this time.
Dialog's Database is "close to a terabyte".
The top-end network connection mentioned is a T3, 42 mbits/sec.
56kbits/sec (ISDN) is an "acceptable" connection for interacting with WAIS.
WAIS, Inc. has 3 full-time employees at the time of the interview.